Within a year, all standards of living have changed. The enthusiasm of preparing our children for the back to school process is now overshadowed by dread. In addition to notebooks and pencils, face masks and hand sanitizer have become an essential school supply. To prepare for the return, parents and school staff need to work together.
Prior to reopening, it is best for school administrators to create a new cleaning routine. To know what needs to be done, it’s best to collaborate with the janitorial staff. The first thing to know is the difference between cleaning and disinfecting. As the CDC points out, cleaning does not kill germs but removes them, minimizing the quantity. To kill them, you must also disinfect. So knowing this, the new cleaning routine should involve a two step process. The best way to ensure that your cleaning routine is effectively followed is to make a cleaning checklist. This will vary by facility, but you can follow this general checklist provided by Janitorial Manager.
Parents should support the efforts of faculty through reinforcing healthy habits like covering nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing, hand washing, and not sharing cups, utensils and school supplies. Make sure you wash face masks and backpacks regularly and minimize fomites like toys or school supplies going to and from school. Maintain good communication with the teachers, faculty and other parents to be alerted on new cases. You can also help your children strengthen their immune system through stress reduction tactics and healthy dietary choices.
Many schools are implementing new physical distancing strategies like adding more lunch and recess periods as well as opening more building entrances to minimize congregation and increase physical distancing at the beginning and end of school days. If your child is a bus rider, try to drive them to school more frequently, if you are able. District buses should also be following a frequent cleaning schedule like this one. Some schools are even implementing a rotation of virtual and classroom learning to maintain social distancing. Kansas City schools are among many in taking these precautions . If as a parent, you still aren’t comfortable with in person learning, talk to your school’s administrators to see what accommodations can be made. And remember, the pandemic is affecting mental health as well. Ensure that both you and your children are practicing self-care.
--Elizabeth Carter, Office Manager at Country Club Janitorial